Virginity test on female accused, in judicial or police custody, is unconstitutional

Public TV English
Public TV English
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High court on Tuesday declared that the virginity test conducted on a female detainee, accused under investigation, or in custody, whether judicial or police, is unconstitutional and in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution which includes right to dignity.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma while passing the judgment stated that the necessary information regarding the unconstitutionality of virginity test is circulated to all investigating agencies/stakeholders through the Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of NCT of Delhi.

The Delhi Judicial Academy is directed to include the information regarding this issue, in its curriculum and in the workshops conducted for investigating officers, prosecutors and other stakeholders.

Similarly, the Delhi Police Academy for Training shall also include the necessary information regarding this issue in its training curriculum. The Commissioner of Police, Delhi is also directed to ensure that the investigating officers are informed and sensitized in this regard, said Delhi’s High Court.

The directions were passed by the Delhi High Court in a case pertaining to the virginity test conducted on Sister Sephy, accused in the Sister Abhaya Murder case of Kerala.

The Investigation Agency, Central Bureau of Investigation in 2020 found Sister Sephy guilty of the murder of Sister Abhaya and sentenced her to life imprisonment. The Trial Court had relied on virginity test findings.

The sentence is now under consideration before the Kerala High Court in appeal.

According to the petitioner’s case, she was forcefully subjected to undergo the ‘Virginity Test’ by the Central Bureau of Investigation on November 25, 2008, against her consent.

The said virginity test was conducted by the investigating agency under the pretext of an investigation to substantiate their case in relation to the death of the deceased, who was found dead in a well on March 27, 1992.

The result of the said test was allegedly leaked to the media by the CBI and it is the case of the petitioner that the conduct of the CBI in subjecting the petitioner to a virginity test forcefully against her free will and selective leakage of the test by the investigating agency to the electronic and print media even before submitting the result before the concerned Court amounts to a violation of petitioner’s fundamental rights. (ANI)

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